Increasing your effectiveness with EFT, part 41.
A few weeks ago I wrote about the analogy of “table legs and tabletops” in EFT, which allows us to distinguish between a general/global issue (the “tabletop”) and the emotionally charged memories that help keep it in place (the “table legs”).
In this analogy, a “tabletop” is a global or general problem, issue or belief. And the “table legs” are the emotionally charged specific events you might want to tap on in order to make progress on resolving the “tabletop” issue. Otherwise, if you just tap in a very abstract/global “tabletop” way, it’s like you are trying to bite more than EFT can chew in any tapping round.
Today I want to talk about another analogy to illustrate the same distinction between global issues and specific emotionally charged events: The Hollywood Movie Script analogy.
This analogy can help you make sure that you are indeed tapping on a “specific event table leg”, as opposed to a more global and abstract “tabletop” general issue. Imagine you want to write a movie script. You have the general idea that the movie is about someone who struggles with low self-esteem issues. That’s the theme of the movie, what the movie is about. But knowing the theme (the tabletop) isn’t enough to write a movie script.
For the movie director to be able to know what is actually said and done by the different characters/actors in the movie, there have to be movie scenes. A movie scene is necessarily something that takes place at a certain (even if not specified) time and location. In other words, a movie scene is a specific event or a “table leg”.
So, going back to this movie script that you want to write about someone who struggles with low self-esteem issues. What would a scene in that movie look, sound and feel like? Maybe you can show the main character trying to invite someone out on a date, but when they attempt to do it they are so nervous that they can’t stop stuttering and beating around the bush, and the other person quickly loses interest, turns their back on them and walks away without even saying anything.
As you might notice, we went from the general theme/tabletop of “someone who struggles with low self-esteem” to a specific table leg event of “imagining myself trying to invite María out on a date but I’m so nervous that I can’t even ask her out properly, and so she turns her back on me and walks away”. In EFT we tap on how this event/scene makes us feel when thinking about it now in the present moment.
Or the movie could also show a scene of how that low self-esteem came to be: the main character as a small child accidentally dropping a glass of milk on the floor and being yelled by his mother: “How can you be so dumb? Why can’t you be more like your brother?”.
Again, we went from the general theme/tabletop of “someone who struggles with low self-esteem” to a specific table leg event of “remembering the time I was yelled at by my mother after I accidentally dropped a glass of milk on the floor”. In EFT we tap on how this event/scene makes us feel when thinking about it now in the present moment.
Another movie scene might be the main character having a nightmare: dreaming that they aren’t able to meet a deadline at work and the boss yells at them in front of everyone at the office.
Again, we went from the general theme/tabletop of “someone who struggles with low self-esteem” to a specific table leg event of “remembering the dream/nightmare I had last night where I wasn’t able to meet a deadline at work and my boss yelled at me in front of everyone at the office”. In EFT we tap on how this nightmarish event/scene makes us feel when thinking about it now in the present moment.
Another movie scene might be the main character’s coworkers speaking ill of him/her behind his/her back. The main character doesn’t even have to be in the scene. In EFT this would be a “made up event”. As long as it has an emotional charge when thinking about it, that’s ok. A setup statement might sound like: “Even though when I imagine my coworkers speaking about me behind my back, saying that I’m so insecure and making fun of me, I feel really sad, and I feel this sadness in my chest, I accept this is what I’m feeling right now”.
So, all of this to say that, when it comes to looking for specific events to tap on, I’m not very concerned with knowing the actual time and date of the event, as in, did this take place in 1999? Did this happen once or more than once? Am I thinking about something that has already happened or is it something that might happen sometime in the future? What I’m most concerned with is asking myself: “Could this be turned into a movie scene? Is this something that could be watched on a TV screen?”
The theme of “Low self-esteem” isn’t an actual movie scene that can be watched on a TV screen. However, any of the previous examples I mentioned, such as “my mother yelling at me when I dropped a glass of milk”, “trying to ask someone out on a date and I’m so nervous they turn their back on me and walk away”, “the nightmare I had of not being able to meet a deadline and being yelled at by my boss”, and “imagining all my coworkers making fun of me behind my back”, are all potentially movie scenes. Which means they are specific event “table legs”. And we can tap on how they make us feel now when thinking about them in the present moment.
That’s it for today. I hope this article was helpful to you. My name is Bruno Sade, and I’m a certified EFT practitioner with a mental health background as a clinical psychologist licensed in Argentina. I use EFT as a tool to help people (who speak English or Spanish) change their negative emotional reactions.
And, I’d love to know: What do you think about this Hollywood movie scene analogy? Do you have any questions or comments about what I wrote? Is there any particular topic you’d like me to write about? I’d love to know in the comments below.